To the south of Boston sits this former industrial town, a quiet spot for exploring the New England landscape.

Nowhere sums up 19th-century American industry like Waltham. It was the very first exercise in town and factory planning, laid out to suit the factories that drew workers in from the fields. The townspeople turned out textiles, motorbikes, and watches for America to consume. In 100 years, one company alone made 35 million watches. While its enormous factories are now ghosts, Waltham has replaced its former industries with research institutes and universities.

Discover the city’s inventive past at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, which explores America’s place in the Industrial Revolution. There is also a charmingly offbeat museum dedicated to the history of the telephone. The first telephone call took place between Cambridge and Boston in 1876.

Waltham has plenty of family-friendly facilities including movie theaters, parks, and softball courts. Locals head up to Prospect Park to catch the sunset over the Boston basin from one of two rocky summits. You’re only 10 miles from Boston but it feels a world away. Prospect Hill Park ranges over 250 acres and includes forests, pools, hills, and picnic spots.

The Charles River twists and turns through Waltham. You can take in the peaceful riverside at Fox Park, where you can follow a hiking trail or get out in a kayak on a guided tour of the lakes to the south west of the town center. You can even book a moonlit tour.

After all your exercise, set out to discover Waltham’s drinking and dining options, which range from succulent steaks to Asian fusion, homemade Italian classics to craft beer. Wherever you end up, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome; Waltham has plenty of country charm, despite being within view of Boston.

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